A New Name

August 19, 2011 | 29 comments

Yea, I’ve been there. I’ve added up my past mistakes and failures, and let the sum of them define who I am:

Unloveable. Unavailable. Unbending.

I’m 39 years old, but I sometimes wear the names of my childhood:

Failure. Forgotten. Loser. Ugly.

But these old names? They fit us like a dress three sizes too small. They aren’t even worthy for the hand-me-down bin. Let’s toss them in the discard pile, and pick up the new names that He has given us:

Friend of God.

You and I, we are more than who we’ve been. So why do we slip on our old self and pretend it still fits? It doesn’t.  

We’re caught between who we were made to be, and who we are becoming. God put a new song in our heart, and He is doing a new thing in us, and He bestows new mercies every morning, and please hear this now: He who began a good work within us will carry it onto completion — even when our new selves try to pull our old, out-of-fashion labels from the back of the closet, and wear them like sackcloth.

We have been remade. We wear garments of salvation. And daily we are being reshaped into something more than who we were. We have new names — God-given and engraved for good.

“I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it …”
— Revelation 2:17

(Hey you … You’re looking great with that new name. Click here for a song that reminds me of you… of usYou are More by Tenth Avenue North.)


I am participating again with The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday — a group-writing exercise that encourages us to write for five minutes flat — no editing or overthinking. Just. Write. …The word prompt today: New …
A friend asked me last week if we really are writing these posts in five minutes. The answer is yes. However, I do go back and check for spelling and grammar errors. (I can’t help it! I’m an adjunct journalism professor, and it’s just part of what I do. 🙂 ) But if I miss an error, I don’t sweat it.



Photo: Stones by Lupetalo



by | August 19, 2011 | 29 comments


  1. r.ellott

    I can so relate to your post…love it…I use to not be able to sing “I am confident of this very thing….will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”…what bondage I was in…but I now know…believe…all things are new in Christ.
    Another great song is…Beautiful by mercy me

    • dukeslee

      I love the Mercy Me song to which you refer! In fact, I heard it just this morning. Thanks for sharing. Perfect!

  2. Tay

    Today I just started a new school year and it is new in more than just one way. I have to find new friends at church. I have to get used to a new routine. Although temporary and minor, I have to learn to adjust to physical therapy sessions and exercises which are totally new to me.

    The funny thing about newness and change is that most people think it is a bad thing. I know that sometimes it can feel like a negative aspect of our lives, but I promise you that God will use the newness and change to create a new and better YOU!

    • dukeslee

      Hi Tay! God’s blessings upon you as you take on all these new things. I am always so inspired by the way you jump head-first into life with a glass-half-full attitude. I have no doubt that you inspire not only the other teens in your life, but the adults as well. You reflect Christ!

  3. Dawn @ Dawnings

    Jennifer, I think you’re cheating. This is so well organized and articulated so beautifully, makes me want to dance and sing, “there’s a new name, written down in glory, and it’s mine, oh yes, it’s mine…!”

    Cheater? An old name 3 sizes too small I suppose…sorry. 🙂

    • dukeslee

      Hi Dawn! I don’t feel very articulate or organized, but I do acknowledge that I can crank out a lot of copy in a short amount of time. It must be those years and years of writing on deadline in newsrooms. There were times where I had –quite literaly — five or ten minutes to put together a front-page story on a car accident or a tornado. But thanks be to God, I’m now chasing the redemptive story of Christ, instead of ambulances.

      So glad you stopped by, Dawn.

  4. Barbie

    Such beautiful words here. I think I am still allowing myself to be defined by the labels of my past. I love how you likened being new to being remade!

    • dukeslee


      Have you heard the Tenth Avenue North song, “You Are More?” I’ve been listening to that song a lot these past weeks, and it has a line in there about being remade. And, as far as I can tell, we are always on the Potter’s wheel, being shaped for His service. ….Being made and remade and remade again.

  5. Brenda

    I am so glad that God has put a new song in my heart and given me a new name!

  6. HisFireFly

    He has been trying to replace all of my old names for years…
    when I allow it, He gives me replacements far better than anything I would have called myself..

    Chosen. Beloved. Redeemed.

  7. Amy Sullivan

    Great take on “new”, Jennifer.

    Too often, I calculate all of my low-lights and become upset about all of the things I cannot change.

    ps yep, good song that Tenth Avenue North.

  8. David Rupert

    Love this piece.

    Isnt it amazing how we identify ourselves by those old names? I was “fatso” and I still think of myself that way based on some grade school lie.

    Same with the other character names that satan has given us. Lies. All of the.

    The I am His Beloved blog deals with this issue lots. She has a cardboard testimony campaign going right now that is refreshing.


  9. Linda

    This is one of many posts I’ve read this week with a similar message Jennifer. I am so thankful that He makes all things new and I’m not defined by my failures. You do amazing work in five minutes!

  10. S. Etole

    I just came from Linda’s who wrote on new/change also … renewing the mind can be a laborious process.

  11. Lisa Auter

    Oh my goodness, Jennifer, PLEASE READ “Your Secret Name” by Kary Oberbrunner…. I know you’re “in” with Susie Larson @ Live the Promise — haha — and she did an interview with Kary a while back. Go to the archives and I really hope you listen to it or go out and get the book. He has this amazing take on the “names” we’ve lived with and how we have to find our new name in Christ. It’s an AMAZING book – he’s on facebook, too! 🙂 I loved this entry, too!!

    • dukeslee

      Lisa! You are such a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing the link here in the comment box. I don’t have the book (yet), and I look forward to listening to the broadcast. ((HUGS))

  12. Diana Trautwein

    SO glad to read that someone else cannot hit ‘post’ without checking spelling/grammar. I generally am done in 5, but I do double check and add pictures if I can. Loved this, Jennifer – as always, you write the wind.

    • dukeslee

      Hi Diana! I think that’s technically against the rules of Five-Minute Friday, but I can’t help it. 🙂 … I take five minutes to write, but I do also add photos and the links over to Gypsy Mama … and of course spell-check. I love the exercise of writing in five minutes. It’s really invigorating!

      Thanks for stopping by, Diana. I’ll check yours out in a bit. 🙂

  13. Bob Cloud

    During my life, and by the looks of your photo I’m probably old enough to be your grandfather,I’ve made more than few attempts to join some religeous group or another and live how the others in that group dujour told me God wanted me to be. Never worked out. Now that I’m approaching my last horizon I’ve finally locked onto what God wants of me and it’s interesting that I have no desire to explain it or defend it to others because It does not involve anyone but myself and God.
    The experience has been freeing and uplifting and all I had to do to stop trying to shoehorn myself into someone elses matrix and to just feel what He wanted. It might take a while but just open your heart and He will lead you where you need to be. So my new name is no longer war. It’s now Peace.

  14. Danelle

    I am throwing out those old names. I am not even putting them in bins and sticking them in the back of a closet. They need to be gone. And I need to remind myself of the new names God has given me. Everyday.
    Thanks for this post.
    Visiting from Five Minute Friday.
    And I can’t write half as much as you can in five minutes. You are blessed with words coming at you with lightening speed.
    Good words.

  15. nmdr

    good post 🙂
    and the comments are good too.

  16. Cindy Bultema

    What a beautiful, powerful, Truth-filled post! How you are able to write this in 5 minutes is amazing! Thank you for sharing your gift…always blessed by your words!
    Sweet blessings
    Cindy 🙂

  17. kendal

    great, great post. i am sending it to my girl, the on ei mentor, who has been made new. and sometimes being made new hurts. and sometimes we want the old. so i want to remind her.

  18. Lynn Mosher

    Oh, what a great post! I love this: “So why do we slip on our old self and pretend it still fits? It doesn’t.” I just read this morning in one of my devotionals, “The remembrance is a current of disappointment that hinders the swimmer.” If we desire to move ahead in God’s plan, we can’t be caught in the undertow of the old self-life. Thanks for the awesome reminder! Blessings to you!

  19. Sheila Lagrand

    Jennifer, you’re leading me to think about how our God is eternal and unchanging, but He specializes in changing us! Now I reckon that’s a pretty basic thought that most folks chew on and digest by the time they’re 8…but I’m just now getting to it, and it’s making me quiet as I consider.

    I’m so grateful to be more than the sum of my past mistakes.

    Thank you.

  20. Beth

    I wandered over here from Nance’s list and am so glad I did. I’ve been struggling with some old garments and names and needed to read this. Thank you.

  21. Sandra Heska King

    Beautiful, my friend. I missed this week, but I love this chance to let it spill. And I’ll admit I’m a grammar-checker and photo-putter-upper, too.

    I’ve been thinking about “nothing new under the sun,” and yet, everything can be new if we have eyes to see.

  22. Joan

    I love that we are not defined by our pasts. We are new in Christ Jesus! And…I am so thankful for that! I love the song “You Are More” — thanks for sharing it!

    Blessings, Joan


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